Monday, April 4, 2011

Soulful

Mike Kimera, Dangerous Bill, C. Sanchez-Garcia, Ashley Lister. A rogue's gallery of male erotica writers. Except that they aren't rogues. What these gentlemen bring to erotica is a male POV that I find soulful and introspective. Truth is, I rarely find a male literary erotica writer who creates characters that are, in common parlance, douchebags.

This mirrors my experience with men. Maybe it's because I often lived in remote places where the only kids my age for miles around were boys, so I played with them and became familiar with the way guys think and act. So when I read a character who isn't the aloof alpha male type, I feel that I'm reading about a real man - a real person. I can't point to any characteristic that I find typically masculine, because women embody those same admirable qualities, but, like many nebulous , unidentifiable concepts, I know masculinity when I see it.

Years ago, R and I drove a small truck full of band instruments from LA to Phoenix, Arizona. Between Blythe and Buckeye, one of most desolate stretches of road in the US, which is helpfully peppered with signs warning drivers not to pick up hitchhikers since there's a state prison nearby, the truck ran out of gas. At 1AM in the morning. New Years Eve. Rain came down in icy pellets. We could see a gas station maybe three miles down the road, the only light out in the dark expanse. As we debated hiking to the gas station together and leaving the instruments unguarded, or risk one of us staying behind alone, a used-to-be-blue Chevy truck pulled over. A lanky, weathered cowboy climbed out and strolled over. We asked for a ride to the gas station. Without a word, the cowboy ambled to the back of his truck and took out a huge chain with a cruel hook at the end of it. Ulp! Then he shimmied under our truck and hooked the chain to something. He got into his Chevy and started the engine. We scrambled into our truck as it lurched forward. He towed us to the gas station, jumped out, unhooked his chain, and drove off before we could thank him. I don't think he said more than two words to us the entire time. We gaped at the departing lights of his Chevy for a while. Then I turned to R and said, "I think we were just rescued by the Marlboro Man."

While Mike, Ashley, Garce, and Bill might not write such iconic figures as silent cowboys, the men they write about are more heroic. There's no conflict in attaching a tow chain to a broken-down truck, but there's a lot of conflict in a person in an untenable situation trying to do what's right. While the alpha male swooping in to save the day makes for a great cocktail party story, it's not nearly as compelling as reading about a man who desperately wants something but won't let himself have it. Or about men who feel deeply and passionately about their lovers. Or men struggling with the disappointments and angst that reflection can bring later in life. Maybe my cowboy hero had all that going on too. He's a man, after all, and they are soulful beings.

11 comments:

  1. Love the story of the Marlboro Man rescue. Being a small town boy from the western U.S., I can relate to that fellow. I've actually had friends like that.

    For what it's worth, sometimes I think it's worthwhile to explore a douchebag of a character, as long as he gets his comeuppance in the end. Sometimes good men are ex-douchebags.

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  2. Craig - I keep trying to remind myself that a douchebag in one instance can probably be a hell of a guy in another. Some exceptions apply, of course.

    I think Woody Allen got it right in that movie where the guy who murders his mistress gets away with it in the end, while the sweet, kind, wise, young rabbi is going blind. Woody Allen's character is ranting "that isn't right, that isn't fair," and someone else says (in essence), "but that's the way it is."

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  3. hi Kathleen

    You spoke too soon in my case. You say we don;t write about douche bags but I just wrote a about a douche bag in a new story called "The Peanut Butter Shot". Its buried in Storytime at ERWA, take a look when you get a chance and you;ll see how I do douche bags. It was a lot of fun to write either way.

    Anyway, I think you understand us guys in a wise way. Thank you.

    Garce

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  5. Garce - maybe I did speak too soon in your case, because this: "But also, to give you credit, you have the capacity for gratitude. Something, sadly, women too often lack" as your comment to Lisabet's post was like a suckerpunch to women everywhere. WTF?

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  6. Ow! Ow! I was about to protest your remark, but looking back at what I wrote, this is the way I worded it, you got me. I apoligise to all women. Something I've gotten used to.

    I wrote that comment in a peevish moment after an argument with my wife in which i was feeling down on marriage and maybe people in general. This happens more often then I'd care to tell.

    I should have worded it differently, or added that men also often lack gratitude, including me too I guess.

    Garce

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  7. Do they still sell douche bags? I haven't seen them in drug stores for years.

    GArce

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  8. I think "garce" may be a french word for douche bag, I'll have to look it up.

    GArce, who may already be a weiner

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  9. When I was a little kid mom used to leave her douche bag hanging in the shower and would never explain it to me even though it looked purposeful and interesting.

    GArce

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  10. I just looked up the word "garce" which it turns out really is a french. I am relieved it does not mean douche bag.

    It does however translate as french slang meaning "bitch" or "slut". I don;t know if this is an improvement.

    Garce

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  11. I have commented on other sites that I'm not particularly fond of alpha males because in real life they are usually self-absorbed pricks who aren't capable of viewing women as much other than "trophies" and "sperm receptacles." I prefer real men, who can be good and bad, alpha and beta, and who don't try to "break" a woman like a horse, nor do they need to be "broken" by the inevitably virginal woman. I don't like reading stereotypes, so I don't write them either. I have one brother (no sisters), 3 sons and 1 daughter, and a wonderful man who knows how to "talk female" when I need that from him. He is my soul-mate.

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